This is our third blog on people in the industry we continue to draw inspiration from (#1 Radha Arora and #2 Grace Ormonde). Today, we are featuring Youngsong Martin, founder of Wildflower Linens. Nikki and Young have been friends for many years and it is our honor to feature Nikki’s friend and someone she draws inspiration from on our blog.
Youngsong Martin is the dynamic fashion designer and entrepreneur who propelled her high-style rental firm Wildflower Linen into prominence in the domestic and international special-event industries. Her full-service rental company has since redefined the special-event linen field in terms of style, glamour and customer care while becoming a prestigious provider to clients nationwide and abroad, for functions of all sizes, budgets and occasions.
Today, Wildflower table linens and chair covers are sought after by everyone from discriminating brides and noted event planners to acclaimed designers and celebrities — by any party producer looking to add the utmost in style and elegance to a function’s tabletops and place settings.
EE: How did you get started with Wildflower Linen?
YM: It was an accident really. With my textile and fashion design background, my niece asked me to help with her wedding. When I started looking for fashionable linens to design her wedding or lack of, I realized I needed to create something myself. Seeing the need for a niche market, I decided to leave the apparel world and start a designer table linen and chair cover rental company. After 16 years, here we are today!
EE: What did your first big event look like?
YM: I helped design and throw a huge party for an Orange County socialite. We brought out Placido Domingo for it too. From lighting and drapery to amazing florals and food, it was just so wonderful to be able to produce something of that magnitude for my friends and peers.
EE: What does a typical work day look like for you?
YM: There’s really no typical work day for me. It’s always unpredictable and there’s always something going on. If I’m not at a meeting with a client or industry partner, I’ll start the day in company meetings with my different departments to discuss current projects, overall goals, etc. If there’s one thing that’s consistent, it’s that I open social media in the morning to read about how the world is doing today. Russia, Korea, England, it’s such a small world now.
EE: If you had to choose, what would you say is your favorite table linen set right now (including chair covers, napkins, and table drape)?
YM: I’m working on an event with Nikki (Exquisite Events) and I’m really excited about the look for this project right now. I would say that the art deco period vintage look is one of my favorites at the moment. I’ve created these chair cover backs and chair slips that enhance the look of the chairs. They create this art deco feel and look amazing in different settings.
EE: From where do you draw inspiration?
YM: Everywhere and everything. It can be something in nature or seeing something on my trip to Italy. The client’s vision is also a source of inspiration. When I hear it and see it, I’m definitely inspired by their vision.
EE: What advice do you have for anyone planning a wedding?
YM: I’m a designer and not a wedding planner so that’s hard to say. But I’d say that it’s always good to allocate budget accordingly and to balance their spending. They need to decide what is more important to them and then work through the budget to achieve that. Regarding design, I would say that a bride shouldn’t be afraid to think outside the box and do something she really loves vs just following the norm or current trend if that’s not her passion.
EE: What are some wedding day “no-nos” when it comes to design?
YM: A cohesive look is very important so don’t try to do so much where your vision and style end up getting lost. Social media is a fabulous tool for inspiration but it also causes a false reality that you can obtain so many different looks for your wedding. You have to narrow down what you truly like and want for your wedding, not what you think is pretty.
EE: What style advice do you have for brides and planners?
YM: I don’t actually have specific advice because most brides nowadays know exactly what they want. Wedding planners also are great designers themselves. I’m their sounding board and their editor for their ideas. With the world of Pinterest and Instagram, my job is to carefully edit so that they don’t lose focus.
EE: What’s are some of best event designs you have seen? Some of the worst?
YM: I’ve seen some events on both ends of the spectrum. One of the best event designs I’ve worked on was a tented wedding, hosted at a private home. It was one of the most opulent and tasteful weddings I’ve seen. I actually designed the first Diana bustled dress chair covers for them. I can’t say any event design is terrible or the worse; event design is very subjective and some people may like something while others don’t. I don’t like to judge others works but I do know what I think to be beautiful and hope that others find my style and creativity beautiful as well.
EE: What do you love the most about your job? What’s the biggest challenge?
YM: I love being in the designing room and creating my designs. That’s the only time really that there’s no stress because I get to focus on creating something beautiful. The biggest challenge would be maintaining and managing the business. Government regulations, employee safety, raising revenue. Those things are constantly changing.
EE: If you had to pick only one image from your career to describe you best, which image would you choose?
YM: I see myself visually as a carefree, absent minded professor, who also happens to be kind of a hippie. I don’t think any of my actual photos show this type of crazy!
EE: What does 2016 look like for you?
YM: It’s looking like a very busy year! I remember how the whole economy suffered 2008 and 2009 was so it’s a blessing that we are doing far better for 2016.
Thank you for stopping by and reading our blog! Have an Exquisite weekend, and we’ll see you next week!